Galactic Energy, a private space company based in Beijing, is set to launch its own rocket from the sea this summer. If successful, this would be the first sea-based launch by China’s private sector. According to Xia Dongkun, Vice President at Galactic Energy, the launch is scheduled to take place in the Yellow Sea off the coast of Shandong province between June and August.
The Ceres 1 rocket will blast off from a launcher vehicle aboard a modified deck barge, transporting five to six small satellites to a low-Earth orbit. China has previously performed five sea-based launches, all by state-owned entities. Galactic Energy’s move to sea-based launches is to free up land-based launch facilities, which are currently overwhelmed with government-backed programs.
According to Xia, sea-based launches offer a lower risk for densely populated areas along the rocket’s trajectory compared to land-based launches. The method also allows for launches near the equator, increasing the rocket’s carrying capacity and lowering launch costs, which extends the life span of some satellites.
Galactic Energy has achieved five successive successes in orbital launch with its Ceres 1 model, placing 19 satellites into space. While there are other private rocket companies in China, only Galactic Energy and i-Space have succeeded in orbital missions, which are spaceflights that deploy payloads into orbit in outer space.